This is the roar of an exhaust fan from my lodge in Chinatown. Why did I record it? Two reasons. First, because this sound was so annoying. The exhaust fan was located on the back porch wall of my room which was on the second floor. The porch itself was very comfortable to relax but the sound of the exhaust fan terrorized me every day. The sound roared non-stop, it sounded like roongrooongrooongrooong, complemented with a very annoying fizz. Inside the room, it couldn’t be heard because it was isolated by the wall and glass door. However on the porch, its’ existence was like a ghost. Because I was so exasperated, I decided to record it.
The second reason, the sound of this exhaust fan was one of Singapore’s soundscape portrait, because we could easily find them behind houses and other buildings. If you walk in an alleyway in Singapore, in Kampong Glam for, Chinatown, or in Holland Village, or even Lavender for example, then you would be able to hear the sound of these exhaust fans along with the sound of AC engines that were usually installed on the back walls of houses or buildings. One of the functions of these exhaust fans was to control the air circulation inside the house so it will be cooler, or control the air circulation in the kitchen. Singapore isn’t the only country exposed to heat. In other big cities in Malaysia, like Kuala Lumpur, Malaka, and Penang, the sound of these exhaust fan and AC would catch your ear in back alleys of residents or restaurants. This technology has become an inseparable part of today’s modern settlements. It didn’t matter (maybe), at least my exasperation could be converted to another research note of South East Asia’s soundscape.